The Madden Curse: Is Brett Favre the Next Victim? Now Troy Polamalu is!

Tomorrow is the release of one of the most successful videogame franchises – Madden 2009 NFL Football. Happy Maddenoliday. The game is top notch, although with an exclusive licensing agreement with the NFL, there really is no competition.

Every year the people at EA Sports pick a player to put on the cover of their flagship franchise. This year for the 20th anniversary of the game they picked a doozy of a player to put on the cover. Brett Favre’s saga has taken up plenty of space in the Sports section and now he’s landed on the New York Jets. Hmmm, I’m sure that this is going to make the Jets a boatload of cash, still this whole situation is kind of like dating your Ex. You just know its going end badly.

In any case, only time will tell if the new Jet legend will have anything left in the tank after 16 years in Green Bay or whether he just sell alot of number 4 jerseys. You can even download a new cover for Madden 2009 featuring Favre in a Jets jersey. Will he fall under the spell of the Madden Curse is the real question. Here is a short history lesson of the subject (quick note the year of the game is generally 1 year ahead of the season – hence the game coming out tomorrow is Madden 2009):

1989 – 2000 – John Madden on the cover. “Here’s a guy who’s not afraid to put himself on the cover of his own game”

2000: Madden still on the cover, with a background picture of Barry Sanders. The Detroit Lions running back retired abruptly before the season and never played a down in 1999-2000 season. Dorsey Levens was thes substituted in a new cover for the game, but he developed knee problems and cut by the Packers at the end of the 2001 season.

2001: Eddie George, Tennessee Titans running back. Had a great season and then dropped an important pass in a Divisional Playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The following season was injuried filled for him

2002: This was probably the year that the curse really started to take shape. Dante Culpepper had been tearing up the league the year before. He led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game and was riding high. He appears on the cover then suffers a knee injury and the Vikings go 5-11 the year Culpepper is on the cover.

2003: Ok, so this curse thing can’t effect a bona fide superstar like Marshall Faulk can it? Sure can. After four straight years of rushing for over 1300 yards for the Rams, and appearing in two Super Bowls in three years his rushing total dropped under 1000 yards and St. Louis went 7-9.

2004: One day after Madden 2004 came out, Michael Vick suffered a fractured fibula and only played in 5 games. Oh, and then there was that whole dogfighting thing. Mike Vick had it all and was the exciting face of the Falcons and the NFL… he lives in jail now.

2005: Ok, Ray Lewis had to be a safe choice, right? Perhaps the greatest leader/motivator in the NFL had 6 interceptions in 2003. The year he was on the cover, he had 0 interceptions and the Ravens missed the playoffs (after making it 4 of the last 5 years). Sorry Jeff, but then in 2005 Lewis suffered a torn right in hamstring in week 6, sat out the rest of the season and Baltimore finished a disappointing 6-10.

2006: Donovan McNabb was the picture of constitency and performance for the Philadelphia Eagles. Five straight years in the playoffs and then a Super Bowl matchup against the Patriots. McNabb even joked that he didn’t believe in the curse.  But, alas, first game of the 2005 season and boom, sports hernia. He played hurt (and never gets the respect he deserves) and then sat out the final 7 games of the season.

2007: Shaun Alexander had led the Seahawks to the Super Bowl and had an amazing season. The 2005 NFL MVP was was breaking records and cementing his legacy. But in week three of the 2006 season he broke his left foot and he hasn’t been the same since.

2008: Vince Young – Tennesse Titans. Hmm, this may be the one that broke the curse. Still its worth mentioning that the young quarterback hurt his quadriceps in his right leg in week 5 of the 2007 season and missed the first game of his career…including NFL, college, high school and middle school.

Only time will tell if Brett Favre will fall victim to the Madden curse. This pirate is routing for Number 4…but alas, methinks he’s cursed.

UPDATE: In Last night’s Titan vs Steelers  “Madden 10″ cover-boy Troy Polamalu left the game with a knee injury. Looks like he’ll miss 3 – 6 weeks. Watch out Larry Fitzgerald!